Jennifer Robinson, an Australian-born lawyer, first met WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in October 2010 when she first suggested the whistleblowing organisation.
She has been a member of Assange’s authorized staff ever since.
She practises regulation on the high-profile Doughty Road Chambers in London, UK, and has an illustrious document of engaged on well-known free-speech instances, together with advising The New York Instances throughout its phone-hacking investigations in London. She has additionally engaged in free-speech litigation earlier than the UK Supreme Courtroom and the European Courtroom of Human Rights.
Assange has been indicted within the US for 17 counts beneath the Espionage Act and one depend beneath the Laptop Fraud and Abuse Act. He continues to assert his innocence.
He might resist 175 years in jail if he’s discovered responsible within the US on allegations that he performed a task in “one of many largest compromises of categorized data within the historical past of the US”.
Additional complicating issues, on June 24, The US Division of Justice issued a superseding indictment of Assange – a brand new indictment that replaces an older one and will include new fees.
The US claimed the brand new indictment didn’t include new fees however that it broadened the “scope of the conspiracy” and included accusations of recruiting hackers to offer Wikileaks with paperwork.
Robinson spoke to Al Jazeera about Assange’s extradition listening to, which concluded on 1 October:
Al Jazeera: How is Julian Assange doing proper now?
Robinson: His bodily and psychological state are in critical decline. His well being is struggling due to the assorted types of restraint on his liberty since he was forcibly faraway from the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012. His psychological well being is in a precarious state.
Al Jazeera: What would a typical day through the trial seem like for Assange?
Robinson: Throughout Assange’s confinement within the high-security Belmarsh jail in London, he was strip-searched every time he arrived at court docket. He was pushed backwards and forwards from Outdated Bailey court docket behind the jail van. After a day in court docket, he could be pushed “house” to Belmarsh after which strip-searched once more. Through the trial, he would spend his days between the cells downstairs within the court docket constructing and the courtroom upstairs.
He nonetheless spends 23 hours a day in his cell. Though he has not formally been positioned in solitary confinement, the situations of his detention successfully quantity to solitary confinement.
Al Jazeera: When was the final time Assange noticed his household?
Assange has had no guests for six months. He had no conferences with household since all visits had been cancelled. We, his legal professionals, might additionally not do videoconferencing with him. The medical recommendation was that he mustn’t do videoconferencing.
Due to his pre-existing healthcare considerations, he might solely get telephone calls. I’m not ready to touch upon his well being. However in his visits to psychiatric services, he has made clear that he’s decided to [take his own life] if he will get extradited.
Al Jazeera: What are your considerations over whether or not Assange has obtained a good trial?
We’ve got a lot of procedural considerations arising significantly from the superseding indictment, issued by the US.
It’s fully unprecedented for the receiving state to subject a superseding indictment so late in a trial. It meant that we completely didn’t have sufficient time to arrange witnesses – we sought to current proof on the brand new fees however the court docket refused to listen to the proof.
We’ve got lengthy had considerations in regards to the politicisation of the method in the US. We’ve got critical considerations about the best way the US has behaved up to now within the trial, significantly by bringing new accusations. It signifies that Assange won’t get a good trial ought to he be extradited.
Our considerations are shared by the Worldwide Bar Affiliation’s Human Rights Institute, which put out a really robust assertion through the course of the listening to.
Al Jazeera: The choice on extraditing Assange might be delivered by Decide Vanessa Baraitser on January 4. What do you anticipate will occur subsequent? And what situations will he face ought to he in the end be extradited to the US?
Whichever approach the decide decides, the choice on whether or not he needs to be extradited is sort of sure to go enchantment and might prolong to a lot of years. The decide said that Assange will stay in custody till January 4. Assange is more likely to stay in custody in a high-security jail. In these circumstances, an accused will normally be out on bail however the court docket has refused bail.
We heard from an knowledgeable witness through the trial that Assange might be held in a high-security jail if he will get extradited to the US. These maximum-security prisons have been described because the “darkest black gap of the US jail system”.
The US has not sought the loss of life penalty for the offences for which he has been charged up to now. However what they’re in search of is successfully a life sentence. What the US is attempting to do by bringing the superseding indictment is to carry new fees on new offences. It might be the case that these new offences could be offences for which the US might search the loss of life penalty.
This interview was edited for brevity and readability.